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Value-Driven Product Development

This course was formerly known as “Product Sashimi”, so if you’re looking for that course, then you’re in the right place!

Maybe you have an idea for a product. You have to figure out how to deliver software that will delight your customers. You want to ship something of value now!

Maybe you need to manage a project that’s already going to go over budget. Your deadline is looming on the horizon. You’ve tried negotiating scope the way the books have taught you to and it’s not working. “We have to have it all! Tomorrow! Hurry!”

Maybe you feel like your team has lost sight of what they’re trying to build. They have a long backlog, they’re cranking their way through it, but it just doesn’t feel right. You’re still building the wrong product… or at least you’re doing an awful lot of work to build the right one.

Maybe this course is exactly what you need.


This course is ideal for you, if...

  • You are a business person with an idea for a product, or a product manager trying to meet your customers’ increasing demands for new features now, or a programmer struggling with unrealistic deadlines. If you want to deliver more value with less software, then you need this course.
  • You are a technical worker—a programmer, a tester, an architect—having trouble understanding what you’re supposed to help build. Either you build the wrong thing, or too much of the right thing, or find out too late that you should have done something simpler. You suspect that you could deliver 80% of the value for 20% of the effort, but between you and your stakeholders, it’s just not happening. You need this course.
  • You are in a startup and everyone is happily going fast and breaking stuff. You’re on course to survive the “learning to fly” stage, but you’re worried that once you have enough cash to stand on your feet and want to develop a longer-term strategy, that you won’t have the discipline that you’ll need—or worse, that your fellow starter-uppers won’t realise just how much extra discipline they’ll need to stay in business. You need this course.

What you will learn

  • How to turn a ridiculously long, convoluted backlog into a concise road map for your product.
  • How to build a coherent, minimum, viable product. Don’t let “MVP” be just another useless buzzword.
  • Why so many people just don’t get “user stories”, and how you can avoid that whole mess.
  • How to help business people and technical people speak the same language when exploring the product together.
  • Why you need business people and technical people exploring the product and its features together!
  • How to install a common vision of the product into everyone’s head.
  • How to “do behavior-driven development” without drowning in a sea of repetitive, annoying Cucumber tests that look like COBOL and take forever to run. Step away from the tools!
  • How will you support the people around you in doing these things? With simple techniques like Lost Luggage, Magic Wand, and Try To Stop Me.

I practise what I teach…

A company whose software product I rely on to run my business asked me the Net Promoter Score question, and I rated their product 8. I told them that if I could combine their look and feel with a competitor’s features, then I’d rate it a 10. When one of their customer service representatives asked for more details, I sent them a thorough description of what I needed using myself as a Persona, describing my specific business goals, and even writing a few Examples/Scenarios. They loved it! They told me:

This is such valuable feedback that I cut and pasted your entire message and sent it to our CEO and Head of Product.

Wouldn’t you like to cultivate relationships like that between the people asking for features and the people delivering them? This training will get you on your way!

Ready to dive in?

You have a few options:

  • Quick Start. A lecture-only version of the course delivered over the internet in 2 hours to as wide an audience as your technology will support. You'll have to practise the techniques on your own, but I will answer as many questions as time allows. Learn more about booking your Quick Start course as a 2-hour working session. This option is best for you if up-front investment is your bottleneck, but you need more than reading a few articles can provide.
  • Online Training, Full Course. A full version of the course delivered over the internet, including lectures, group discussions, exercises, and question-and-answer sessions. I have run this course intensively (done within a few days) as well as spread out over time (one session per week for 4-5 weeks), with varying advantages and drawbacks. Let's talk about which delivery schedule fits your situation best. This option provides more value and helps you start using the techniques with more confidence, albeit at a higher price. You'll receive feedback about your current projects in addition to getting "real work" done.
  • On-Site Training. The full course delivered on site in 2 days (or more!) for a room-full (or more!) of people, including all the time you need to practise with me on your real projects. Consultants, invite your clients to join us! Book now! Perfect if you want to maximize the impact of your investment.
  • Public Training. Find out when and where I’m teaching Value-Driven Product Development by joining my mailing list. Training companies and conference organizers, join this list to find out when I’m traveling to your neighborhood, so that we can organize a course together. I’m really easy to work with.

What you need to attend this course

  • A pen.
  • A product or project that you feel comfortable discussing with others.
  • That’s it!
  • Companies are strongly encouraged to send more than a single person to the public versions of course, especially if you have confidentiality concerns and don’t want to share your project details with strangers. A group of 3–8 working on the same project or product works really well.

What you need to provide in order to host this course

  • Tables for each group of 4–8 people.
  • A pack of paper (500 pages) for every 40 people.
  • A flipchart or whiteboard and markers in at least three colors.
  • I need internet access from my devices. (In some corporate environments, guest network access requires time, patience, and effort to arrange in advance.)
  • That’s it!